Nothing has grabbed the passion and attention of visual artist Louisa Ferguson like glass. As a young child, she was fascinated by the beauty and power of the medium.
“I remember as a child being entranced by stained glass windows. Even if you’re not a religious person, you can still walk into a church and be blown away by the beauty and power of glass.”
Ferguson is always aware of the dichotomy of her chosen medium. “It’s strong and fragile at the same time. It can be transparent or opaque.” She says, “It was almost an immediate love affair really. I just went ‘Oh! This was the thing I was looking for.’”
“It was almost an immediate love affair really. I just went ‘Oh! This was the thing I was looking for.”
Ferguson hard at work in her home studio in Meacham, SK. (photo provided)
Ferguson has honed her craft using an ancient process called pâte de verre which translated means glass paste. She presses finely crushed glass into moulds and then fires them in her kiln. The results are often surprising even to the artist.
“There’s always a reaction to something happening. So, if I fire a piece, I’ll take it out of the kiln and it’ll have done something I didn’t expect.” She explains, “It’s a call and response for me. I’ll do something and the piece will do something on top of that. I’m always aiming toward a certain area but how I get there and the end result, that’s a surprise.”
Ferguson’s pieces have received acclaim around the world. She has pieces in South Africa, Britain, Argentina and right here in Canada.
Mixed media piece called Shoal. (Louisa Ferguson)
This year, her work Ship of Fools was one of 52 pieces selected out of 1200 world-wide for the Toyama International Glass Exhibition in Japan.
“In the last 4 or 5 years, I’ve become really serious about it. I like the direction my pieces are going.” She says, “I call them dwells because it’s an object that holds intention, a meaning. It can be sacred.”
Journey are the focus of Ferguson’s upcoming show, Passages at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery starting on November 10. It’s a joint show with ceramist Paula Cooley. Many of the pieces were created by the artists separately and about a third of the show, they’ve created together. Ferguson says she can’t wait to hear what others think of her work and hopes many will want to take a piece home.
“It’s wonderful when people connect with your work in that way.” She says, “It feels like a little part of you is going off on an adventure.”
Nov. 10, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019
Artists’ Reception Nov. 9, 2018
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery
Click here for more information about the show.